The race for Arsenal’s goalkeeper jersey for the 2018/19 season is going to be a hot one. Their purchase of Bernd Leno now means they have three outstanding goalkeepers in the form of David Ospina, Petr Cech and (now) Leno, all of whom could have equal claim to that starting spot.
Ospina has defiantly made an impression at the World Cup, proving a strong presence in goal for Colombia after a shock defeat to Japan on group matchday one. It will be interesting to know what Unai Emery’s thoughts are on the goalkeeper situation, as Leno isn’t without his faults and 2017/18 was not one of Cech’s finest. The latter man is now 36, and the situation now may be that Emery is looking to move him on.
At 29, Ospina is in his goalkeeping prime, and could become the first choice, if Leno struggles to adapt to the Premier League. Should Ospina manage to win the battle to become Arsenal #1, there could easily be a few other Colombians showing interest in joining Arsenal, and there are plenty of talented ones out there.
A quick look at what Ospina is capable of:
A dream move for Arsenal fans would, of course, be to land James Rodriguez, whose absence alone appears to have reduced Colombia’s stock in the eyes of experts. The fact that Colombia remained 20/1 outsiders in international football betting markets to win the 2018 World Cup, even before the last 16 match with England, is very telling. He is halfway through a two-year loan with Bayern Munich, but that will not stop him from having his usual array of suitors.
Though staying at Bayern is very much a possibility for him, the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner will likely want a permanent home. That is, of course, providing there is a young, forward-thinking manager (like Emery) in charge of his destination club, who plans on playing Rodriguez in his natural position.
One less-lauded player, who lit up the World Cup for Colombia, is 25-year-old Juan Quintero. Contracted to Porto, but on loan at River Plate, he has proved to be a constant creative threat, with two shrewd assists at the World Cup during the group stage. While Porto can offer Champions League football with greater regularity than Arsenal, Emery has the charisma and reputation that may just turn his hand in the Gunners’ favour.
Quintero’s Word Cup performances bear all the hallmarks of a typical ‘breakout’ player, who becomes a hot property after a strong World Cup. It happened to James Rodriguez four years ago, and with an average of 0.7 through balls per game – very high in relation to other World Cup 2018 players – Emery will do well to court his signature.
One of the highest rated players in the World Cup so far has been Yerry Mina, who could well be on the radar of several Premier League clubs, after averaging more than five clearances per game in the World Cup. Though always in the right place at the right time – or so it seems – the Barcelona man has found his playing time in LaLiga limited. On current form, he offers just as much as teammate Davinson Sanchez, giving Emery good reason to do as Arsenal’s rivals did back in August 2017, and sign a strong Colombian.